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One dead, five rescued in San Clemente Island sailboat accident

March 9, 2013 |  7:02 am

One person is dead and five others were rescued after a sailboat accident at San Clemente Island during a sailing contest called the Islands Race, the Coast Guard said Saturday.

The 30-foot sailboat Uncontrollable Urge issued a mayday call about 9:30 p.m. Friday as the boat's rudder failed and the craft began drifting toward the rocky shore of the island. Initially the sailors declined assistance from the Coast Guard and other boaters.

But about 11 p.m., as the sailors attempted to anchor the vessel, its anchor would not catch and the vessel drifted even closer to shore. The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter from San Diego and the cutter Edisto was diverted to the scene.

Finally, the sailboat entered the surf line and was broken apart by waves, forcing the crew to abandon the vessel. Six sailors were hoisted into the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and taken to a hospital where one man was pronounced dead, the Coast Guard said.

The accident occurred amid eight-foot swells and 10-knot winds.

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-- Tony Perry in San  Diego

Video credit: U.S. Coast Guard

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